It’s November, the air is so frosty and clear as the big chill bites. The only noise you hear comes from the bike tires buzzing on the asphalt surface. Breathe. You are in Copenhagen with a Japanese woman who looks like a magic creature, her friends from New York and her family that has just arrived from all around the globe to attend the world premiere of her movie: Kuichisan.
Considered the discovery of the year at the CPH:DOX – the biggest Scandinavian international documentary film festival -, Kuichisan is the first feature length film by Maiko Endo, featuring a cast from the New York’s independent movie scene, such as Eléonore Hendricks and Sean Price Williams.
Shot on 16mm, it is the journey through the eyes of a boy who’s searching for an outlet for his spirituality while observing his surroundings, through the streets and the emotional geographies in the Okinawa Island. A poetic and photographic story that will bring you in places where you have never been, and which at the same time will bring you back home different from what you were before.
Maiko Endo, photo by Eleonore Hendriks
DROME: Kuichisan is your first feature length film. How would you describe it to someone who has never seen it?
Maiko Endo: It’s magic: the film will play with you if you play with the film. It was born under the thunder lightning.
D: Is there any connection between the young protagonist and your childhood or with the child hidden inside you?
ME: I say yes. Otherwise I didn’t make this movie I think.
D: How did the project come about? What inspired you?
ME: The town called Koza in Okinawa. And I saw a lost boy called Kaateo Toei. I couldn’t forget about his name after I left there and the magical word started to grow inside of me.
D: What inspires you now?
D: You grew up and currently live in Tokyo, but I know you’re very connected to New York. How do these two different places influence you and your art?
ME: The people I work with are some from New York and others from Tokyo: mixed together they create something unique. I travelled back and forth between the two cities, losing the sense of time and space. It was the best experience for me and that’s how I live. New York got me intoxicated and gave me the punch that I couldn’t get from Tokyo. Tokyo grabs me in the gut whatever I do. So New York punches me while Tokyo grabs me in the gut: a perfect combination.
D: What are your upcoming projects?
ME: A new movie. Its going to be set neither in America nor Japan, but in between. A girl. “Love has to be reinvented” by Leonardo Di Caprio in Total Eclipse.
Alessia De Luca
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